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Foundations of anti-Indigeneity in Classical Music

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Abstract: This lecture discusses the phenomenon of cultural appropriation in western classical music, and its foundations in the fear-fascination of “savagery” and “otherness”. This history of misappropriation can be traced back to Dvorak’s Amerikkkan Nationalist writing period, which drew upon both Indigenous and Black musical traditions without consideration of inherent power dynamics or foresight of the harm that would become essential within the western musical canon for non-Indigenous and non-Black composers. With this context, I explore how American (Neocolonialist) Nationalist music and White Shamanist music are ultimately rooted in the inherent fear of otherness which has been a driving force of the colonial mindset.These appropriative practices are an integral part of Pauline Oliveros’ repertoire which have been handed down through generations of composers both appropriating and academizing Indigenous culture while removing all cultural context and cultural autonomy of the Indigenous peoples in question. Ultimately, I will prove these musicks are rooted in the destruction and subjugation of the culture and music of the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island, and further the efforts of white settlers to dismantle and decimate Indigeneity over the past 500 years. Hard copy available upon request.

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